Sounds of the basketball game on TV. The baby yelling at his babababababa. The dog barking at my sweet neighbor as she rounds the corner with her chubby 5 month old for an evening walk in the street in front of our house. Reminder note-writing to pay the utilities. Sorting through things for an upcoming yard sale. Eating chicken wings and washing it down with cherry Kool-aid for dinner.
Things I fill my evenings with. Things I fill my life with. Things I fill my head with. All to distract from notions of a test I have looking in two days, a fetal echo cardiogram. Will baby Sweet P have a heart defect, too?
Maybe it's not the smartest thing in the world to do, but I've been consuming myself with the stories of others. Other families who have faced what we've faced, or faced worse. I came across the story of this tiny little boy on Facebook and I want to cry with each post his mother writes. I have followed other stories before, prayer pages for heart babies, but for some reason I find that his struggle hits my heart in a different way. His heart defect is different, his story is different, and yet I look at his photos and can't help but see my own little boy. A little boy fighting through a bleak diagnosis, who deserves to live and to be loved by his family. Deep in my heart I am yearning for that baby boy to fight, to get better, and to go home. Feelings that are all to familiar, a song I sang not that long ago.
I'll be honest. One heart baby is enough for me, thank you very much. I don't want to face another CHD diagnosis. Sweet P belongs in our family regardless of her heart looks like and I just keep praying and hoping that her heart looks nothing like her big brother's.
I know our journey so far, while rocky, hasn't been the rockiest. We spent two 3-week stints in the hospital and it was rough, but some babies are in the hospital for months. Half a year, sometimes more. I shed a lot of tears over CHD but truth be told there are other families who've shed bucketfuls more than me. And selfishly (or maybe not selfishly) I don't want to be one of those families with multiple heart babies with countless trips to the hospital during their child's early months. I want to have two healthy babies. I want to live life never having heard of CHD or Truncus Arteriosis or any other medical term I could spout off at the drop of a hat. I want to have normalcy.
I guess I'll have to face the facts. I was not chosen for normalcy. I was chosen to have a baby with CHD. I was chosen to live with a constant awareness of my son's coloring & oxygenation, his breathing patterns, his food intake. Chosen for countless appointments and phone calls to the insurance company. Chosen to face the battle with a brave face and to keep fighting in spite of the tears. To thicken my skin, to become a woman, to become a mother and continue to be one even when it is really effing hard. That's what my life is now, I'll just have to face it.
I have no control over what baby Sweet P's heart looks like at this point. The only control I would've had was to not get pregnant or end the pregnancy as the nurse suggested when I expressed my fears at my first prenatal appointment. It's not choice for me, though. I have no choice but to have this baby and push past my fears. I am given what I am given and it's my obligation as a living, breathing thing to accept these gifts wholeheartedly; even when it's hard. I can hope and I can pray for any certain outcome but that outcome has already been decided. The questions is looming and soon the news will come crashing down. All that matters is this: how will I face that news when I get it? Regardless of what the news is: how will I face it? How will I react? And how will I move past the test result? In any outcome, I will have to move past them. I will have to face them. This is my life, my crazy, uncertain life, and if I've learned anything, it's that it's all worth facing even when hard.